The Natural History building was built in 1856 to house the Royal Dublin Society’s growing collections, which had expanded continually since the late 18th Century and was opened in 1857 by the famous Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone. The building is a ‘cabinet-style’ museum designed to showcase a wide-ranging and comprehensive zoological collection.
The Museum houses galleries of animals from Ireland and overseas, also geological exhibits from a total collection of about 2 million scientific specimens. Many of the taxidermy on show is over a century old and includes a tiger donated to the museum by King George V in 1913 and a polar bear donated by the famous explorer Captain Leopold McClintock.
On the ground floor visitors can experience dedication to Irish Animals, which features some giant deer skeletons, birds, fish and a variety of mammals. Many of the specimens of currently extant animals, such as badgers, hares, and foxes, are over a century old. The ground floor access is now wheelchair accessible.
Visitors can now experience the new first floor with restored access from the original grand stone staircase. Some new facilities have been added including the ‘Discovery Zone’, where visitors can handle taxidermy and see what hides in every drawer and a reading area has been set up.
On the next floor, the Lower Gallery contains mammals from around the world, including now extinct or endangered species including a composite Dodo skeleton, from Mauritius, a thylacine, a quagga, and a pygmy hippopotamus. The second ceiling suspends a Humpback whale skeleton.
The higher galleries above display more primitive animals, from birds through reptiles and fish to invertebrates and microbes. On the upper floor of the building, where it was laid out in the 19th Century is a scientific arrangement showing animals by taxonomic group.
Some of the exhibitions in the exhibitions department are; Mammals of the World, Mating Game, Steps in Evolution, Crystal Jellies, Irish Fauna, Birds of a Feather, Taxonomy Trail and Underwater Worlds.
Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 2pm - 5pm
Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday
Admission is Free
The Museum of Natural History is approx 15min walk from the Castle Hotel. Alternatively you can take the No. 7, 7A or 8 bus from O'Connell St and it will leave you outside the museum.
The National Museum of Ireland
Museum of Natural History